Motherwell Hockey Club (The story so far)....
During the month of February 1987, a conversation took place at Hughenden, the home of Hillhead Hockey Club, between Robert Liddle and Arthur Murphy. Both played for Hillhead and both lived in the Motherwell area. They agreed that it would be good to establish a hockey club in Motherwell and that they could play in the lowest division of the West District and, even if they lost every week, at least they would have started something worthwhile. On the 9th of March 1987 an informal meeting took place at the Welcome Inn in Ferniegair to discuss the possible future of a Motherwell Mens Hockey Club. Robert Liddle, Ian Calder, Arthur Murphy, Yogesh Verma and John Gillies were all present. An enthusiastic discussion took place and eventually it was decided to enter the National League in season 1987/88 joining the lowest division, which was at that time the 6th division. If we were going to lose every week, we would be as well doing it in the National League. We would attempt to make our 'base', West End Park, Bellshill where a new artificial surface was to be laid. After discussions with Motherwell Leisure, it was agreed that the use of the pitch at West End Park be shared between Motherwell Hockey Club and Uddingston Hockey Club who would become our local rivals. Uddingston H.C. had just been promoted to Division 1 of the National League and the new Motherwell Hockey Club was not seen as a threat to the well established hockey neighbour in Uddingston. However by the end of season 1987/88 Uddingston had been relegated to Division 2 and Motherwell had been promoted to Division 5. The gap was immediately narrowed and instead of losing every week we had gathered together a strong side which had potential.
A training facility was secured in the indoor games hall at Brannock High School for the purpose of coaching younger players in the skills of hockey. The 1990 Player of the Year, Mark Robinson, was a product of that initiative developing into an outstanding goalkeeper. However as the club grew, new facilities were sought and one of the most influential decisions on the clubs future was taken when it was decided to base the club at Dalziel High School where we began coaching in the indoor games hall on Monday evenings from 8 till 10 p.m.. Boys from Brannock and Dalziel High Schools took part in the U-16 West District Indoor Cup and finished 7th of twelve. But it was a start and few people would have predicted the success that Motherwell Hockey Club and particularly Dalziel High School would achieve in the years to come.
Grants from Motherwell District Sports Council, Scottish Sports Council and donations from the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and others were invaluable in the early days of the club and major sponsorship was secured from Mr Michael O'Shea of Rumours, the local 'refreshment' area beside West End Park in Bellshill. Our club became Rumours Motherwell carrying the name of our sponsor proudly on our chests.
During the search for recruits to the cause Peter Monaghan became interested in this new club dawning. Peter was a former Scotland internationalist and had a wealth of experience which a new club like Motherwell could use. He was invited to join the club and agreed to take on the responsibility of club captain. Peter recognised the challenge and readily accepted and brought the added benefit of his talented son, Martin, who would become a key part of the clubs success in the early years and become the first member of the club to gain international recognition by being chosen for the Scottish U-21 team. The person responsible for most of the early organisation was Robert Liddle who was a doctor in Motherwell and had many useful contacts. He acted as secretary, match secretary, treasurer and coach. His organisational abilities and vision for Motherwell Hockey Club were another key factor in the early success of the club but his awareness that the base of responsibilty had to be widened to achieve future success was not lost on him and, by the first A.G.M. in 1988,he had persuaded Ian Calder to become the clubs first President. In addition he oversaw the establishment of a second eleven with Kenneth Paterson being its first captain.
Success In The Early Years
Motherwells first National League match was against Irvine and, despite the early reservations of success, they took the field with a fairly impressive side and began the game with high expectations. However within five minutes Irvines David Nimbley had scored with their first attack of the game, and the Motherwell players experienced their first feelings of apprehension. However they need not have worried as they soon turned the game around with goals from Peter Monaghan, John Gillies, John Russell and two from Neil Stewart completing a 5-1 victory. The team went on in their first season to secure promotion by finishing runners-up to Monifieth, a rivalry which would stimulate the Motherwell club in its early years and drive it on to greater success.
The Second Phase
Having gained promotion to the 5th division, the momentum of the club was established and grew in the second season when they achieved promotion from the 5th division, being again runners-up to Monifieth. The third season saw the roles reversed when it was Monifieths turn to play the supporting role and Motherwells to claim the silverware. Peter Monaghans captaincy, the enthusiasm of a new club and the determination to be a major player in Scottish hockey were the motivating factors in those early years. The establishment of a second eleven in the second season and a third eleven in the following year began to give depth to the club but perhaps the most significant pointer to success in the future came when in early 1990 Motherwells U-18 indoor side defeated Uddingston 7-3 in the final of the West District Indoor Cup. The end of season 1989/90 also saw the end of Motherwells sponsorship by Rumours but it opened the way for a more local sponsor in the shape of the Moorings House Hotel and so for 1990/91 the club became known as Moorings Motherwell. Motherwells promotion to Division 3 in 1990 was seen as a stepping stone to further progress but it was to be nine years before the club finally made its way into Division 2 as champions of division 3. During those years the clubs sponsor changed and in 1993 Peter Monaghan was instrumental in securing Westcars as our new sponsor. The sum of £500 per year was modest but it provided some degree of financial security and kudos. In those days Skoda Motherwell or Lada Motherwell would have been much less attractive. So for the next 7 years Westcars Saab Motherwell maintained its position in division 3 waiting for the breakthrough to division 2.